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Collins wants Turner to make his strengths elite

On a Sixers team full of low post scorers and three-point threats, there may be room to operate from midrange than in most seasons in recent memory. That’s where head coach Doug Collins hopes Evan Turner can make a major impact.

“I want Evan to be a star in what he does,” said Collins after the Sixers picked up Turner’s fourth-year contract option Thursday. 

Collins is right that there are aspects of the third-year 6-7 swingman’s game that are elite.

Now nearly 24, Turner has gradually improved every year since entering the league as the second overall pick in the 2010 draft. As a rookie, Turner averaged 7.2 points (42.5% FG), 3.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. In his second year, Turner improved in every major category, posting 9.4 points (44.6% FG), 5.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. His 7.9 rebounds per 36 minutes were the best of any guard in the NBA last season.

One of the reasons for his higher offensive efficiency , according to Hoopdata.com, was his significantly improved shooting from 3-15 feet. He shot 42.7% from that range last season, a big jump from the 37.4% he shot in his rookie campaign. Overall, the Ohio State alum shot 45.1% percent from inside the three-point line in his first two seasons. The Sixers know Turner can make a nightly impact on the offensive end; they just want him to continue to play to his strengths: rebounding, drawing fouls, playmaking, and tenacious defense.  

“I think he’s best inside the three point line,” said teammate Jrue Holiday. “He’s one of the more physical guards on the team, getting in there, rebounding, defensively rebounding, pushing the ball, getting into the paint. He’s a playmaker. With Dorell [Wright], Nick [Young], and Jason Richardson [to space the floor], he can make those passes out or even dump into the [post].”

The National Player of the Year in 2010, Turner puts a lot of pressure on himself to succeed – sometimes too much pressure, according to Coach Collins. 

“The guy works as hard in the offseason as anybody I’ve ever been around,” said Collins. “The moment the season starts, you can just feel this [pressure] in him. I want him to let that go. [I don’t want him to] squeeze the air out of the ball. Just play.”

Posted: 12:46 PM, October 26, 2012